Sunday, March 18, 2012

Employee Benefits: Concierge Services

I would have to say actually good concierge services would rank very high up on my list of benefits I would actually care about a company providing.  If the services are lame then it is probably more trouble than it is worth.  But good concierge services would be a great benefit.

Some services help you fight the HMO nightmare.  That would be another useful service (though one I guess companies would be less willing to provide.  A great basketball gym would be high on my list also.  As would flexible work schedules and telecommuting.

My Personal To-Do List? The Concierge Has It

When Jonathan Swanson, a warehouse associate at Mercedes-Benz USA, was planning his honeymoon, he didn’t log on to a travel Web site or start a Google search. Instead, he picked up the phone and called Circles, a 24-hour personal concierge service that is a free benefit available to Mercedes-Benz USA employees.

The biggest thing I want now it to pay someone to do the stuff that is a bother for me.  My attempts (to get this myself) so far show it isn't as easy as it sounds.  Getting service that is actually good enough is tricky (often you waste so much time trying to explain what is needed you save none).  Also I can't fit a huge cost in my budget so the services have to be fairly cheap (the larger companies tend to be hugely expensive).

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Systemic Waste in Society

The Caging of America
there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height
in 1980, there were about two hundred and twenty people incarcerated for every hundred thousand Americans; by 2010, the number had more than tripled, to seven hundred and thirty-one. No other country even approaches that.

The amount of wasted human potential and direct costs of such huge numbers of people in prison is a huge loss to society.  Along with things like our broken health care system the damage to our society is enormous and yet we don't seem to be very interested in fixing the problem.

Sadly this is fairly typical; we don't seem to be interested in fixing any of our problems.  Instead we just seem to hope the good forces (entrepreneurism, successful businesses, scientific breakthroughs, existing wealth, hard work...) can do enough to make up for the wastes (prison, bailouts for too-big-to-fail-institutions, healthcare costs, anti-market favors for big political donors [flawed intellectual property rules, failure to preserve competitive markets - allowing companies to buy competitors to eliminate competition...], security theatre...).